NBA suspends Blazers' Terrel Harris for anti-drug program violation
The NBA suspended Trail Blazers guard Terrel Harris for five games without pay on Monday for violating the league's anti-drug program.
The league did not specify how Harris violated the program. A player who tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs receives a 20-game suspension for his first violation. A third failed marijuana test would trigger an automatic five-game suspension.
Harris, 25, was acquired from the Pelicans in a three-team sign-and-trade that sent Tyreke Evans from Sacramento to New Orleans. A two-year pro who went undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Harris holds career averages of 2.3 points and 1.8 assists. He signed as a free agent with Miami in December 2011, was waived last January and caught on with New Orleans in March. His contract for the 2013-14 season is non-guaranteed as long as he is released by Oct. 31.
Harris played for Portland during the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 8.3 points and three rebounds in four games. He faces a roster crunch, as the Blazers have 14 guaranteed contracts and incumbent starter Wesley Matthews, 2013 first-round pick CJ McCollum, 2013 second-round pick Allen Crabbe and 2012 second-round pick Will Barton already occupying the two-guard position. Harris said last month that he wasn't sure whether he would be invited to the Blazers' training camp.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey told reporters last month that Harris' future with the organization was uncertain as the Blazers decide whether to use their remaining room mid-level exception.
"We'll see what [Harris] has," Olshey said. "Clearly he is entering a position where we have quite a bit of depth. I usually prefer to carry 14 [players], just to have flexibility for trades down the line and to do uneven deals, but if a compelling reason comes up to fill that roster spot, to either use the room mid-level or Terrel can make the team, his contract is guaranteed October 31, we'll deal with that then." If the Blazers do release Harris before the start of the season, his five-game suspension would kick in for the "next NBA regular season game for which he is eligible and physically able to play," according to the league.